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Sudan’s women call for parity in political representation

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Sudanese women protest in Khartoum on 8 April 2021 (ST photo)April 9, 2021 (KHARTOUM) - Women groups in Sudan on Friday released a Women Manifesto calling for empowering women’s political representation and to repeal gender discriminations including that in the personal statutes.

Sudanese women massively participated in the 4-month protests that toppled down the oppressive regime of Omer al-Bashir that excluded women from the public space and confiscated their rights in the name of Islam.

However, the Sudanese government still did not ratify an international treaty on women’s rights, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), and an African charter known as Maputo Protocol, despite several pledges made by Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok.

To urge the government to meet its pledge to sign CEDAW and to amend or repeal discriminatory laws by the former Islamist regime, women groups from all trends staged a protest on Thursday outside the ministry of justice and the Attorney General Office in Khartoum calling for the gender equality and empowerment of women political participation.

The protesters handed over a petition calling to ensure gender in the parliament and to amend the election law to allow women to run for office on behalf of their communities, not just on the women’s lists.

Further, the petition urged the abolition of all discriminatory laws and policies, including criminal law and labour law.

Also, it called for the enactment of legislation criminalizing discrimination based on gender, including the abolition of male guardianship authority, equality for women before courts, and the recognition of full testimony in courtrooms.

The march mobilized "thousands of women together to protest against militarization, pervasive injustice against women and girls, gendered killings, and the normalization of sexual violence as the result of severe discriminatory laws that are still in effect in Sudan despite the fall of the ex-regime of Al-Bashir and his militant Islamists," said SIHA Network in a statement released after the protest on Thursday.

The Horn of Africa women group further denounced attacks on the female protesters.

"One woman was taken to hospital, but there are no further reports yet of other major injuries. Other men came out of their cars to physically assault the protestors," said the group.

"One student has said that she was punched and that her attacker threatened to rape her. Several of the protestors have already gone to the local police station to make formal reports of these incidents, 8 of which have already been recorded,"

The driver has been arrested, but it is unclear whether the other attackers have been apprehended, SIHA stressed.

(ST)

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